Subodh Yadav, Chairman of the Regional Transport Authority, Dakshina Kannada, and who is Deputy Commissioner of the district, on Thursday reserved his orders on allowing 37 buses of the Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) to operate in the city and its surrounding.

Private bus operators at the meeting of the authority here on Thursday opposed the KSRTC's move to introduce its buses. The KSRTC justified its move and sought permission. The application of KSRTC for permits for 37 buses was pending with the authority since November, 2008.

Mr. Yadav heard arguments from both sides at the meeting. Mr. Yadav said he would pass orders within this month.

Among 127 subjects listed on the agenda of the meeting, 37 subjects pertained to allowing the KSRTC to operate its 37 buses.

Counsels representing the private bus operators appealed to the authority not to allow the KSRTC to operate its buses on Talapady-Surathkal, Mangaladevi-Kunjathbail and Mangaladevi-Bondel routes.

The KSRTC sought approval for operating 22 buses (242 round trips) between Talapady and Surathkal, nine buses (81 round trips) on Kunjathbail-Bunts Hostel-Lalbagh-Mangaladevi route, and six buses (54 round trips) on Mangaladevi-Bunts Hostel-Lalbagh-Bondel route. Thus it sought permit for operating 377 round trips.

Counsels for private bus operators argued that private operators were providing better service in the city and its surrounding areas. Hence there was no need for KSRTC buses.

They argued that separate notifications issued by the then district magistrate of Dakshina Kannada in 1991 and 1993 banned issuing of fresh permits to operate any buses to and from the State Bank of India bus terminus.

According to the notifications Bunts Hostel, Ambedkar Circle, Ladyhill and Lalbagh were restricted areas and hence the KSRTC buses cannot pass through those areas.

A counsel quoted an order of Kolkata High Court in a similar case and argued that the RTA cannot issue permits for the KSRTC.

Rajesh Shetty, Law Officer, KSRTC, argued that after the two notifications were issued the RTA had issued permits for private operators to operate route numbers 15 and 13 buses in the restricted area. Those buses now enter Lalbagh, Ladyhill, Ambedkar Circle and Bunts Hostel areas.

In such circumstances, Mr. Shetty wanted to know how private operators could operate route number 15 and route number 13 buses via Lalbagh, Ladyhill and Bunts Hostel. It was a violation of the notifications, he said.

Mr. Shetty said private buses were overcrowded in the city and hence KSRTC should be allowed to operate its buses. People were pressing the KSRTC to introduce its buses. The KSRTC was providing concessions to senior citizens and persons with disabilities in its buses.

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